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how can i tell if my rescue pony is pregnant?

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  • how can i tell if my rescue pony is pregnant?

    i've had this mare for seven weeks. she came to me fairly plump and with a gorgeous heavy coat. she seems healthy and vetted perfectly well. she may have a tiny bit of heaves, her only symptom is she breathes a little faster than my other horses. just in case i let her use her stall at will and keep the dust to a minimum.
    two weeks ago i cut her senior grain completely, still giving her six or seven flakes of nice grassy hay a day, which she shares with the two goats. vet says she's around twenty and in fine shape, even her teeth, so really doesn't need any grain.
    she's been wormed twice as per his instructions and has the basic vaccines.
    so yesterday i brought home two other mares and both of them went right into heat upon meeting her. not too much drama, and by tonight they are mostly all fine together.
    but the rescue mare did not come into heat, and i realise her belly is still quite plump for her size, despite cutting the grain altogether and monitoring her hay intake.
    is not going into heat with the rest of the girls and being plump enough evidence to be suspicious?
    and if so, short of having the vet out again, is there a way a civilian like me could determine if she is indeed pregnant?
    in other words, is there a stick i could get her to pee on?
    yeah, i'm cheap and trying to save a vet call, but if she is pregnant i want to get her prenatal vites and supps and everything asap!

  • #2
    Go ahead and hang me right now!!!! I will give you a little thing that I do, but please don't tell on me. LOL

    If she is at least a few months in foal you can do the "string test". Take a piece of yarn and attach it to a nail that is silver (not dull silver nail which is not silver) or your silver wedding band. Hold it over her back at the flank level. I let about 3 inches of yarn hang down with the nail or wedding band at the end over the back. Hold it with one hand very still. Do this test inside so wind does not make it blow. After a bit it will start to move either in a circle or back and forth. If it moves she is in foal. I usually do this test on my stallions, gelding, mares not in foal and babies to test the test. It should not move at all (out of the wind), but on a PG mare it will move.
    If you tell anyone I told you this I will say you lied!! LOL. But, its funny, now my vet is watching me do this test. She is becoming a believer. Voodo? Perhaps!!! Email me if you want further instructions. sugarpony@aol.com
    hunter/jumper ponies


    • Original Poster

      heck, i'm willing to try that! but first have to come up with a silver something or another...i have no clue if we have silver nails anywhere!
      i have gold and platinum jewelry, and silverplate silerware, wonder if i have any actual silver in the jewelry box though! maybe dh has a silver dollar or something...
      thanks, please let me know if i can use gold, copper or ??? instead?
      thanks, and i promise to report back tomorrow!


      • #4
        Any nail that is not dull will work. Humm......wish I really knew what type metal really works. This will be another TEST for me!! But, I have used my wedding band (its actually my moms and is quite old and may be platinum. My husband just told me that the metals are totally different.

        Oh well, just try the test and let me know.
        hunter/jumper ponies


        • #5
          You're probably not going to know until she has it or bags up or at least continues to get fatter. Just put her on a good ration balancer and watch her waistline! If she is preggo, it should become obvious n the next few months as she blimps out and bags up.


          • #6
            Well, hale...I'm going to try that too, as soon as I can find something silver. My wedding band is gold so that's out. Candlesticks??

            Anyway, on my rescue mares, I automatically assume they are with foal and feed them well until I know for sure. Either a foal shows up or the mare will cycle (hopefully). I've had mares that never showed a thing (no bag either) and pop a foal out. You just don't really know unless you call the vet.

            I want to know whether your rescue is pregnant or not too!


            • #7
              Not foolproof by any means, but if she's pg enough to be showing, you may be able to see the foal move. At a time of day when she's relaxed (dinnertime seems to work best), watch her flanks for ripples of movement as she stands still (eating her hay, perhaps). It kind of looks like she's flicking a fly, so make sure nothing is touching her as you observe. If you see it, quietly move closer and put your hand on her flank-if the foal kicks again, you will feel it.

              Obviously, this is hit or miss, and she has to be far enough along, but it's a decent enough test that if you see it a couple of days in a row or even within a few days, it's worth a call to the vet to confirm. If she is pg, it's important to know so you can adjust her feed and routine accordingly. While most mares do show signs of imminent delivery, not all do, and you don't want a surprise baby you're not equipped to deal with or even delivered outside in a New England winter!


              • #8
                Can't the mare be palpated or ultrasound or some other medical procedure?
                I know the OP doesn't want another vet visit, but I am curious what else is medically available? as well as the voodoo methods.lol
                save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                • #9
                  I don't remember what company I purchased it from, but years ago (I'm thinking mid-1990s) I bought a pregnancy test kit for horses. I was looking at a driving pony prospect and the owners thought there was a slim chance she was bred. I didn't want to even consider her if she was, so I purchased the test. I think it came with a little device similar to what they used to use to get blood from your finger when you donated. We pricked her muzzle and ran the test. She was not pregnant. I didn't buy her anyway, but she didn't foal out in the spring, so the test was accurate. I couldn't find that kit in a quick google search, but I found this http://www.theminiaturehorseshop.com/weeqprtekit.html
                  test that uses urine--even better because I don't remember that little mare liking having her muzzle pricked!


                  • #10
                    I was wondering if someone would come up with the string test.
                    Remember, you have 50/50 chance to be right, no matter how you test there and that, in statistics, is a very good chance.

                    We did the string test with a nail, didn't hear it had to be shiny and I doubt that any nails have silver in them.

                    I know once where the test failed, but so did the vet.
                    The mare was a gift from the widow of a friend, that following his wishes gave us two of his old mares.
                    She was older and pasture kept, they didn't know if she was bred, but could have been.

                    Sometimes, we think we can tell by how the upper part of the neck feels, if firm in a certain way, that may be influenced by hormones, they may be pregnant.
                    This mare was rather thin there, so that was not telling us anything either, but she sure looked pregnant.

                    Her belly got bigger and bigger, we did the string test that said no, a new vet was out, palpated her and he said no, so we turned her out with the stallion and two weeks later, without bagging up or anything, she started in labor one very early morning.

                    Another vet told us that there is a time where the foal is big and laying way down and it may be hard palpating to say if something is there.
                    Hard to believe, but that is my story.

                    I think that maybe you ought to have a vet look at her that does much reproduction work?
                    I think that going by guesses and chance may not be ideal for her and the possible foal.


                    • #11
                      I think you can get an equine pregnancy test from KV Vet nowadays.

                      The smart thing would have been to ask the vet to check for pregnancy while he was there the first time. When I bought my mare I had a reproductive exam done at the same time in case I might ever want to breed her--wanted to make her innerds were in working order. Why anyone would buy a filly or mare without checking for a pregnancy is beyond me!

                      The person who boarded with me bought a mare from someone and the mare turned out to be pregnant--only she didn't know it! I figured out the mare was pregnant at least a full month before she did--it's not that tough when the mare turns her back to you and you can see she's starting to bag up....
                      "I'm not much into conspiracy theories but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot!" ~person from another bulletin board whose name has been long forgotten~


                      • #12
                        Actually new on the market in the last two years is a very good urine test. She has to be far enough along though. Google "Wee Foal".

                        While this test has a good rate of success, it won't tell you if there are twins. Which only a Vet or Vet Tech is going to be able to do by ultrasound.


                        • #13
                          Ask your vet..............................


                          • #14
                            I don't understand why you don't have the vet out? It sounds like you have at least 3 mares--I hope you have enough of a slush fund to afford for vet care...?

                            Sorry, I just get irked when people post on BB's (this is the
                            2nd one I have seen you post on about this) when a very simple solution would be to have a vet come out.


                            • #15
                              There is another string test to try. Take a piece of baling twine and measure front of her body. Measure over the withers and around the barrel behind the front legs. Mark the measurement on the string. Now, measure the same way in front of the hind legs. If a mare is in foal the hind measurement will be larger then the front measurement.


                              • #16
                                If you are truly concerned, call your vet.
                                Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by appdream View Post
                                  There is another string test to try. Take a piece of baling twine and measure front of her body. Measure over the withers and around the barrel behind the front legs. Mark the measurement on the string. Now, measure the same way in front of the hind legs. If a mare is in foal the hind measurement will be larger then the front measurement.
                                  Will that also work in pregnant geldings?

                                  (Just kidding!)


                                  • #18
                                    I have been told that in all horses the hind measurement is the same size or smaller. Even the grosly overweight, ones. But, if a mare is in foal it has to be bigger, because of the increased size of the uterine wall and foal.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      when the vet was out for her health check and vaccines i did ask him, his response was that she was in her twenties so he doubted it. my other mares have never been exposed to a stallion, this once came from auction and may have been.
                                      doing rescue one at a time is costly, and i do not wish to incur another fifty plus dollar trip charge needlessly if i'm just being overly imaginative--which i is why i came here to ask about it.
                                      i'm not a breeder, so i was simply asking a question.
                                      jeeze gloriginger, snark much? must be nice to have all the answers!


                                      • #20
                                        Nope, not being snarky-- just trying to understand why someone would have a horse that might be pregnant and would opt to ask people on a Bulletin board what to do instead of calling a vet...

                                        IMO $50 is a very small drop in the horse fund budget- especially with 3 horses.

                                        Why not call your vets office and ask them?